Last weekend had major Kentucky Derby and Oaks implications around the country along with several other big stakes races at Gulfstream Park. Once again, we saw an upset in a Kentucky Derby prep race, but the Kentucky Oaks preps held to form with more logical winners. The terrific weekend of racing served as the first of many to come as the Kentucky Derby trail heats up. Let’s take a look at who made our Three Stars of the Week.
1. Promises Fulfilled
All aboard the upset train! After a string of winning favorites kicked off the Kentucky Derby trail, that trend changed in the blink of an eye. In Saturday’s Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes, Promises Fulfilled won at 18-1, making it six straight non-favorites to win Kentucky Derby prep races. This was perhaps the biggest upset yet, as the son of Shackleford was able to upset the heavily-favored 2-Year-Old Horse of the Year, Good Magic. After setting the early pace, Promises Fulfilled never looked back, winning the race in wire-to-wire fashion. Good Magic chased Promises Fulfilled all the way around the track before tiring and finishing third. It looks like Promises Fulfilled will be heading to the Grade 1 Florida Derby for his next start.
2. Midnight Bisou
Stamping herself as one of the top Kentucky Oaks contenders in the country seemed easy for Midnight Bisou with a runaway victory in the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes. The race was supposed to be a showdown between Midnight Bisou and the Bob Baffert-trained Dream Tree, but a wet track caused Dream Tree to scratch. However, we still got to see a show, as Midnight Bisou sat off the pace before dominating down the lane to win going away under just a hand ride. It was clear that the wet track didn’t bother her, and she passed the test of racing around two turns for the first time with flying colors. She exits this race as our number-one Kentucky Oaks contender in the latest Oaks Rankings.
3. Sadler’s Joy
This horse is an absolute pro. Coming off of a tremendous 2017, Sadler’s Joy pulled off an exciting victory in his 2018 debut, the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. After falling back to last early on, Sadler’s Joy made a bold move on the turn and continued his late turn of foot to just get up in time to beat a tough front-runner in One Go All Go. This race showed that Sadler’s Joy still has a lot left in the tank, and you would think that several Grade 1 races will be on his radar once again this year.